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Monday, June 6, 2011

Herrin hangs on for win

From AMA Pro Racing

ELKHART LAKE, WI - AMA Pro Daytona SportBike's Race 1 lost one of the class' most dominant riders early in Saturday's contest at Road America, kicking off an unusual three-way battle for the lead that stretched nearly from start to finish - a contest that came within a single lap of crowning an all-new class winner.

Team Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo started the race from his third consecutive pole position, grabbing the holeshot and leading PJ Jacobsen (Celtic Racing/Fast by Ferracci) and Josh Herrin (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) into the first turn. Herrin and Jacobsen immediately began dicing for position, Herrin pulling up beside the younger rider before diving into a solid second. Behind them, Cameron Beaubier (GP Bike Parts Racing), Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki), Cory West (Vesrah Suzuki), Tommy Aquino (Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Graves Yamaha), and Danny Eslick (GEICO Powersports/RMR Suzuki) rode nearly atop each other while vying for fourth.

Shortly after the field started Lap 2, however, DiSalvo - by that point a few tenths ahead of Herrin - crashed out of the lead, leaving Herrin to contend with the two youngsters behind him.

Suddenly, Jacobsen took over the lead, sandwiching Herrin between himself and Beaubier, who likewise seemed to be eyeing the far more veteran rider. As Herrin continuously tested Jacobsen, frequently running up alongside him on the front and back straights (once briefly taking over the lead), Beaubier stayed stuck to Herrin's rear wheel. The GP Bike Parts rider made his intentions clear by pulling up alongside Herrin then sliding into the overall lead, but then immediately went wide, quickly being relegated back to second by Jacobsen, then to third by Herrin a few turns later.

As Herrin continued to put pressure on Jacobsen, Beaubier flexed his newfound speed a few more times, retaking second briefly and making another attempt at the lead. The second pack had by now seemed to loosely agree to set out after the lead trio, however, and the dicing inspired at the front by Beaubier allowed them to begin to gain ground.

With three laps to go, the lead trio maintained their running order while West, Eslick and Aquino all took their turns at the head of the second group. Up front, Jacobsen and Herrin, the former riding the wheels off his Ducati to try to shake the Yamaha rider, began to leave Beaubier behind. As the lead pair spun out an increasing gap on Beaubier, it became clear the latter was in serious danger of being sucked into the group charging up the track behind them.

As the leaders approached the white flag, a game changer was delivered in the form of a lapped rider. While Herrin negotiated the situation perfectly, Jacobsen was shuffled back in the chase group and Beaubier sucked in almost entirely, the group suddenly spreading five wide and spitting West out as its new leader. Herrin, meanwhile, had netted some breathing room for the final lap and crossed the line .749 ahead of second-place West, Jacobsen hanging on for third. Eslick, Aquino, Taylor Knapp, Beaubier, Westby, Jason Farrell, and Fernando Amantini rounded out the top 10.

"Luckily [DiSalvo] had a couple tenths on me, so I didn't get tangled up with him," Herrin said. "I think Cameron was pretty excited to be up there - he's new to the series and just wants to get out in the lead - but it kind of hurt me and PJ a little bit; we were definitely losing time when he'd get out in front of us, and then burning our tires trying to get back past him. [In the final laps] I thought PJ was right behind me, but I put my head down and rode as hard as I could on the last lap and didn't hear anyone behind me in the last corner. I'm sure tomorrow will be a different story, especially with DiSalvo up there."

DiSalvo's DNF and Herrin's win have tightened the points race considerably. At press time, provisional points standings had DiSalvo at 110 followed by West (99) and Herrin (97).

"After the halfway flag I could kind of see we were gaining on [the lead group]," West explained. "But it was tough - Danny and Tommy were pushing me hard. We started dicing it up ... and every time someone got to the front, we were like, 'Okay, let's get those guys!' We slowly started reeling the leaders in ... they were dicing pretty hard, which helped us catch up. Coming to the white flag, I knew for sure we'd catch Cameron, and then the lapper helped me catch PJ. I might have had something for [Josh] with one more lap. It was a good race. I'm glad to get second and start getting some points in this championship."

Y.E.S./ LTD Racing Yamaha's David Gaviria celebrated his second victory of the season Saturday in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race. Gaviria led all 10 laps en route to victory, claiming a 1.388-second gap over second-place Travis Wyman (Harv's Harley-Davidson), while James Rispoli (ANTRacing.com/STAR School) rounded out the podium in third.

"Being in the lead of a race is pretty difficult," said Gaviria. "You don't know if you're fast or slow, so I tried to do my best out there and it worked. At the end of the race I was just taking care of myself, watching [behind me], and they were catching me and going so fast, but I just kept going. I think tomorrow is going to be different with these guys, so I have to be prepared."

SportBike Race Results
1. Josh Herrin (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 13 Laps
2. Cory West (Vesrah Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +0.748
3. PJ Jacobsen (Celtic Racing) Ducati 848 +1.264
4. Danny Eslick (Richie Morris Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 +1.382
5. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha Extended Service, Pat Clark Sports, Graves, Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 +1.491
6. Taylor Knapp (Vesrah Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +1.957
7. Cameron Beaubier (GP Bike Parts Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 +4.871
8. Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +12.178
9. Jason Farrell (Speed Tech Performance) Kawasaki ZX-6R +27.554
10. Fernando Amantini (Team Amantini) Kawasaki ZX-6R +30.067
11. Santiago Villa (M4 Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R600 +39.813
12. Tyler OHara (GP Bike Parts Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 +39.877
13. Huntley Nash (LTD Racing Y.E.S Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 +1:03.505
14. Matthew Sadowski (Top Shelf Motorcycles Racing) Ducati 848 +1:12.684
15. Matt Hall (CS Carey Racing) Yamaha YZF-R6 +1:15.877
16. Brian Hall (Schaumburg Audi) Kawasaki ZX-6R +1:27.714
17. Barrett Long (Longevity Racing) Ducati 848 +1:27.717
18. Dave Ebben (Speed Tech Performance 2) Kawasaki ZX-6R +1:57.090
19. Michael Morgan (Autolite RIM Racing) Suzuki GSX-R600 +2:46.817
20. Shawn Hill (SRH Plumbing ·Inc.) Kawasaki ZX-6R 12 Laps
21. Calvin Martinez (Martinez Motorsports) Kawasaki ZX-6R 10 Laps
22. Melissa Paris (HT Moto Yamaha) Yamaha YZF-R6 6 Laps
23. David Sadowski, Jr. (Top Shelf Motorcycles Racing) Ducati 848 5 Laps
24. Jake Holden (Jake Holden Racing) Ducati 848 4 Laps
25. Paul Allison (Triple Crown Industries) Yamaha YZF-R6 3 Laps
26. Jason DiSalvo (Team Latus Motors Racing) Ducati 848 2 Laps
27. Tyler Odom (Don Odom Racing) Honda CBR600RR 1 Lap
Race Time: 30:41.981
Margin of Victory: 0.748
Best Race Lap: Josh Herrin (2:20.416)

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